Blow Up, Bomba Estereo

Nacional Records, Colombia
Rating: 78
By Carlos Reyes

Bomba Estereo’s first release comes into the market fully armed by “Fuego”, a song that is bound to become a hit; I’m not exactly how long it will take for it to expand its flame, if it doesn’t it, it might be the sign to let us know that radio isn’t quite ready for Cumbia to take over reggaeton. It only takes a single spin to meet “Fuego” not only as an atomic bomb (as the track suggests) but as a massive power plant of rhythms ready to explode, and it does reach a climax like few songs have this year, or last year. It’s not only furious; it simulates fire by seizing speed and volume (you would probably dance this part down close to the floor), the strong will get up with the beat on fire, while the weak are not entirely lost as the track is generous enough to have an energized comeback near the end.

Blow Up is a lot more than just a one darling-song album; it’s a confident showcase of afrobeats, champeta and cumbia, it’s the first Colombian act to really breakthrough since neo-cumbia sneaked in (considering Sidestepper has never really internationalize). They had the warmest reception out of all the performing ‘latin’ acts at this year’s SXSW, rising comparisons with Calle 13 in particular, the sound is clearly at distance but both acts share a need to make things sound big and ironically recruit Caribbean rhythms to get there. I feel Bomba Estereo is closer to an emerging line of acts with female leads that are seriously dominating Latin urban music: Choc Quib Town, Niña Dioz, and Rita Indiana y Los Misterios. Other bleak immediate party starters include the sexy and electrying perreo “La Boquilla”, and the highly textured “Juana” which steps into the very pleasing sound of The Very Best (Esau Mwamwaya + Radioclit).

Songster Liliana Saumet is driven by customized lyrics that sometimes get lost in tempo, but luckily she’s got great company, the band is up there with Monareta and Kinky when it comes to instrumental complexity and creativity. In fact, there are two instrumental tracks here “Camino Evitar” and “Palenke” that are very easy to visualize, too pretty to sweat on them but nonetheless serve as refreshments. The last peak of the album is actually its conclusion; “Raza” undresses the most honest aspirations of the group, gets into political ground, “que te quejes y no hagas nada es lo que me molesta”, and brings in one of the best lines of the year “me gusta la cumbia porque es sencilla.” It’s not an easy genre at all, but we get the message, it’s music from the heart to the people.


el amarillo said...

well, i have been listening to this album the whole weekend and i think it deserves a better rate. la niña rica is just an explosion of creativity, just like fuego. it algo sounds really experimental and colombian cumbia is exposed with mastery. an enjoyable explosion of rhythms and great lyrics.

Jean-Stephane said...

I think Carlos does justice to it, it's pretty good but falls just al little short from getting into BestNewSounds... it's defenetely exciting and a great start, "Fuego" is the bomb!

chicodub said...

looking forward to hear the whole record! fuego is already a minor hit here in rio, brazil, @ dancing cheetah's parties!

el amarillo said...

i'm back you guys. i just come to recommend another great band from my country that sounds a little bit like bomba estéreo, the main difference lies on the male voices and that maybe their debut record has more exciting momnets than estalla!
their name is systema solar
here you got the link,

their giving away their songs at their web site; i hope you guys take them into account so you can write a review, that would come in handy because they are not quite known. hope u enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Pure fire!
One interesting thing - the album sounds as if itwas produced by William Orbit (he did Madonna's Ray of Light around 10 yrs ago)


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